To its late-Victorian participants, London “Society” was one of those abstractions, like “the young,” that deteriorated with each passing generation. For decades chroniclers of Britain's clannish ruling circles had lamented the diminishing refinement, morals, and breeding of those highest sections of elite society that migrated to the capital each spring for the parliamentary and social “season.” Thus, when the press, with many contributors from the aristocracy itself, launched a new campaign against London Society in the last years of Victoria's reign, the charges had a familiar ring. Society was expanding alarmingly, abandoning its standards, worshipping notoriety and opulence, and abdicating serious responsibilities in the pursuit of frivolous amusement. If the criticisms contained few surprises, the intensity of the alarm was unprecedented. Beginning in 1874, with The Way We Live Now, Anthony Trollope's novel of a greedy and credulous beau monde, and continuing through a series of journal articles bearing titles such as “The New Society,” “The Deterioration of English Society,” “The Sins of Society,” and “The Enlargement of London Society,” critics subjected the aristocratic elites and the informal institutions of the London season to fierce scrutiny and nearly universal diagnosis of advanced illness.